Novakain | Photo By: Lewis Leveridge
Review of Novakain – Hallucination Imagination
By: Forrest Cook
The lo-fi rockers of Novakain have just released a new full-length album titled Hallucination Imagination. The new release represents Novakains’s second LP since their 2013 debut demo. It’s chock full of stoner grooves and heavy riff signatures, swelling rhythms and excellent instrumentation, with each member credited as performing a variety of different percussion instruments among the other creative additions on the album. (Theremin, didgeridoo, finger snaps, etc.)
Staying true to DIY ethic, Hallucination Imagination features an in-house production quality. The bubbly, tripped out artwork was created by lead vocalist/bassist Dylan Kain. It’s equal parts Salvidor Dalí, Lewis Carroll, and Yellow Submarine – featuring a lone saguaro in a sea of bad dreams, and a happy little possum minding his own business while some unseen dream keeper plays pinball with the planets. The packaging represents the contents of the album perfectly.
Audio engineering as well as mixing and mastering have been kept in the family. Those services were provided by, drummer, John Bereuter’s uncle – Jeff Bereuter, and cousin, Cliff.
The band came together in 2010. Brothers, Dylan and Kyle originally met John in grade school and that comfortable association is evidenced in the easy flow of the music through its alternating phases. They’ve developed a sound birthed from a wide range of musical influences and found an identity in the counterculture each member grew up with. Kain maintains the songs have personal meaning through his own ups and downs, but invites listeners to create their own interpretations of the lyrics. Early themes endeavor under the light of the moon with songs like the opening title-track, ‘Hallucination Imagination’ and ‘Werewolf Trippin’’, the album’s first single. Whether referenced to youthful experimental recreation, or a tongue-and-cheek concept synonymous with the genre, that’s left for the audience to decide. “It’s almost as if we let the listener’s imagination paint a picture of what the song is about,” the band explains.
Immediately listeners get a touch of the other-worldly with a blast of the theremin to open the album before transporting into the funky, psychedelic dance groove that ‘Hallucination Imagination’ subsumes. Where that song ends and ‘Werewolf Trippin’’ begins we find howling, grievous, and anthemic guitars, and discover more fuzzy squeals outlined in heavy metal bass maneuvers all crunched up in ‘Outta Body Experience’.
Album Cover Artist: Dylan Kain
Photo Credit: Thomas E Moore
“Come back to me, my memory.” Lyrics to ‘Holy Smokes’ reminisce on times lost to wizardry in a Ozzy-esque reminder that occasionally the past is best left behind. Here, Dylan’s didgeridoo rumbles along to a repeated bass motif and Bereuter’s snare keeps time as it builds to power chords and heavy hitting. Similar elements are at play on the track titled ‘Never Listen to The Wind’. Dylan’s mouth harp melodies embalm the powers of nature with spectral embellishment on a down home ballad conferring wisdom that Casteneda’s fabled Don Juan might agree with as well.
‘Hole In Your Hand’ elicits Kain’s story-telling ability and a showcase on ivories, while ‘Ce N’ est Pas Grave’ is the French variant of Hakuna Matata. The song explores an enigmatic drumming pattern as the Kain brothers paint their musical picture. “Why is it shy, but not when it’s sly? It’s a feeling inside, and the voice goes and hides. But when I’m all blazed everything I say, it always ends up coming out the right way.”
Eclecticity purveys these songs and the rest of Hallucination Imagination. It’s evident that Novakain is having fun playing music they enjoy. What they’ve created is an accomplished multiform display that has been ten years in the making! Find it on Bandcamp, Spotify, and wherever else dreams are made.